How to Remove Blow-In Insulation

Updated February 21, 2017

Although it is possible to remove old blown-in insulation by hand, it is an unhealthy and a backbreaking job. Removing the insulation is a dirty and messy home improvement project without using the proper equipment. Large commercial vacuums specially designed for this purpose can suck up the old insulation and transport it through large hoses to dumpsters located outside. This eliminates contaminating the home by dragging bags of blown-in insulation through the house. Tool rental centres rent the equipment, bags and hoses to home improvement enthusiasts.

Use a ladder to gain access to the attic area and determine the best route to run the vacuum hose. A direct route that avoids any breakable items is best. Lay out the hose and connect the sections if applicable, along the determined route and into the attic.

Read the instruction manual provided with the machine. It is important to familiarise yourself with the proper operation and hose connections of the applicable type of machine.

Place the vacuum in an area outside suitable for the equipment, such as next to a large trash receptacle or an area large enough to accommodate the bagging process.

Run extension cords to provide electricity to the vacuum. Most insulation vacuums require a standard 110-volt power supply.

Connect the hoses to the vacuum in the applicable manner suggested by the manufacturer. The machine should have two hoses, a long section or sections for intake and a shorter one that discharges the material into a dumpster or garbage bag.

Remove the insulation by sucking it up with the hose. Make sure that the discharge hose is inserted in the dumpster or have an assistant fill garbage bags as it is discharged from the machine.


Place dust sheets under the ladder and hoses to prevent flooring damage. Start in the hard to reach areas first and continue by working your way out of the attic. Perform work in the morning before the temperature rises, attics become very hot in the afternoon.


Wear a respirator to avoid inhaling dust, insulation and other debris when in attic. Use caution when working in attics to avoid sharp objects such as nail. Be careful where you step when in the attic. Step on roof trusses or joists to avoid ceiling damage and possible injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Commercial insulation removal vacuum
  • Extension cords
  • Large garbage bags or dumpster
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About the Author

Robert Ferguson has been a writer since 2000. His published work includes material for major companies in the home improvement, plumbing, HVAC and power tool industry. Ferguson is a self-employed, licensed building contractor in Florida with more than 30 years of hands on experience experience focusing primarily on residential remodeling, repair, renovation and construction.